Mayor Emanuel Races Chicago’s Economy To Bottom

Does a city “save money” by outsourcing good-paying jobs to a company that pays crap wages? The people who had good-paying jobs are out of work, replaced by people in low-wage jobs, and the rest of us feel the downward pressure on our wages and benefits as the race to the bottom accelerates. The city tax base is reduced as wages drop and people can’t shop at local businesses. And to make matters even worse the newly-hired crap-wage employees make so little they are likely on public assistance just to get by.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving city contracts to private companies that promise to “save money” by replacing hundreds of good-paying union jobs with low-paying non-union jobs. More than 300 janitors and window washers at O’Hare International Airport are at risk of losing their jobs just days before Christmas this year because Mayor Emanuel is replacing their employer with United Maintenance.
As Republicans across the country continue their all-out assault on public employees, labor unions and the middle class, why is Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel — President Obama’s former White Hose Chief-of-Staff — joining in by awarding contracts that eliminate good-paying union jobs for race-to-the bottom, low-paying, insider-connected, anti-middle-class non-union jobs?
To top it off, several news organizations are reporting that the companies involved may have “ties” to organized crime, including top employees convicted of racketeering in organized crime prosecutions, and partnerships with known organized crime figures.
Progress Illinois reports, O’Hare Janitors Set To Lose Jobs Before Holidays Hold Vigil At City Hall (VIDEO), (click through for the whole story)

Time is running out for more than 300 O’Hare janitors who stand to lose their jobs by the end of next week as a result of a new city contract.
Local clergy members and workers’ rights advocates held a prayer vigil with airport workers at City Hall Tuesday afternoon in a last ditch effort to persuade city officials to reverse their decision to award a $99 million custodial contract to a company critics claim plans to replace union jobs with non-union, lower-paying positions.
More than 100 supporters filled the fifth floor hallway outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office in protest over the city’s five-year agreement with United Maintenance Company Inc. to provide janitorial services for the airport beginning December 15.

Last week, the last of 54 union custodial jobs at Chicago public libraries were cut and replaced with workers from private firms as part of the city’s contracts with Triad Consulting Services and Dayspring Professional Services. This past summer, as many as 50 union janitors were laid-off when a new company contracted to clean police stations, city senior centers and health clinics replaced them with non-union workers.

Organized Crime Connections?
Several news organizations are reporting that these city contracts are going to insiders who are possibly conencted with organized crime figures.
NBC Chicago: Rahm Emanuel Mayor Skirts Questions About Mob Ties in O’Hare Contract,

The mob-related questions keep coming in connection with the company awarded a $99 million custodial contract at O’Hare International Airport, and for the second day the mayor dodged potential Rahmfather implications.
Reports surfaced Wednesday that Paul Fosco, a vice president of United Service Companies, served time in 1987 after he was charged in the same corruption case as late mobster Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo, who was acquitted. A day earlier the Chicago Sun-Times reported the owner of United Service, Richard Simon, had partnered in the past with alleged mob figure William Daddano Jr.
Emanuel skirted questions about both connections, twice pointing to the city’s “competitive process” that he said resulted in work for the Service Employees International Union and the hiring of about 100 former employees.

Chicago Sun-Times: More mob ties to contractor in O’Hare cleaning deal,

A high-ranking employee of the contractor who recently won a $99.4 million janitorial contract with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration once served a prison sentence after he was charged in the same corruption case as late Chicago mob boss Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo.
Paul A. Fosco was convicted on racketeering charges in 1987, sentenced to a 10-year prison term and left federal prison in 1993, public records show. He now is an executive vice president of United Service Companies, according to his profile posted on the LinkedIn networking website.
United Service is owned by Richard Simon, a former Chicago Police officer who led the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau from 2002 to 2005. On Oct. 31, Emanuel’s administration chose one of United’s many companies, United Maintenance Co. Inc., to clean O’Hare International Airport for five years starting Dec. 15.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported last week that Simon had partnered in yet another firm with William Daddano Jr., who was accused of organized-crime ties by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Chicago Crime Commission.

Workers Take Action
CBS Chicago reports, in O’Hare Janitors Descend On Mayor’s House To Protest Looming Job Cuts,

Dozens of union airport workers were holding a prayer vigil outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house on Thursday, asking him to reconsider a decision to hand custodial work at O’Hare International Airport to a new company that doesn’t use union labor.

You Can Take Action
Click here to read about Good Jobs and Chicago Families at Risk: O’Hare Worker Stories.
Petition here: Mayor Rahm Emanuel: STOP CUTTING GOOD JOBS

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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